It’s true! St. Lydia’s has a new home.
A storefront of our very own where we can cook, eat, pray, and grow.
We’re running an Indiegogo campaign to finish out our fundraising for this project,
and we hope you’ll participate.
You may have some questions, or want some more details. So here’s all the information you could possibly need! If we don’t answer your question here, feel free to email Emily Scott, pastor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s the story behind St. Lydia’s and Dinner Church?
St. Lydia’s is a Dinner Church. We gather for worship each week around a meal we cook and share together. We’re a progressive, GLBTQ affirming congregation. St. Lydia’s was founded about five years ago by pastor Emily Scott, in collaboration with friends and colleagues.
Why does St. Lydia’s need a new home?
St. Lydia’s started out in a friend’s apartment, then met in a church, then moved on to rent space by the night at a Zen Center. We’ve been growing, and to accommodate that growth, added a service on Monday night in addition to our Sunday night service. Our plan is to keep on growing, adding another service on Sunday and perhaps another weeknight service. Plus, we need a space for events, meetings, and ministry. It’s clear to us that, at this point in our growth, it’s time to invest in a neighborhood and allow our ministry to really take root.
How large is the congregation?
We have two services each week on Sunday and Monday. Each service has an attendance of about 25-30. We find that 30-35 people is the right number for an intimate experience of cooking and worship. In our new space we’ll be able to host four Dinner Church services each week.
Why not meet in a church space that’s already available (and cheaper!)?
Good question. We thought about this, and scoured the neighborhoods we were interested in for any available options. First, St. Lydia’s needs a pretty particular set up. A kitchen that’s open to the area where we worship, which must be free of pews. In addition, we wanted a place with good subway access that was wheelchair accessible. And, we needed the space at least two nights a week. We couldn’t find a local church that fit the bill. Plus, we know that to continue to grow, we’ll need more space, on more nights of the week! Finding our own space was the best solution.
What were you looking for as you searched for a new space?
We were looking for a space that was in a socioeconomically and culturally diverse neighborhood. We wanted good subway access on multiple lines, so that we’re accessible to the whole city. We wanted a space that was on the first floor, so that passersby could peek in the widows and see what we’re up to. We wanted a space that could be made wheelchair accessible. We wanted a space large enough to host 30-35 people for Dinner Church in one seated. We wanted a basement for storage and we dreamed about a small yard. Our new space at 304 Bond Street has all of these elements!
How will the space be used?
When things are really up and running, we imagine having Brunch Church (for families!) and Dinner Church on Sunday, and two weeknight Dinner Church Services. During the day, we’ll run a co-working space: a place where freelances and folks who would normally work from home come to work alongside one another. We’ll use the space for Bible Study and Contemplative Prayer meetings, and on the weekends there will be lectures or concerts or community events!
We’re going to open a co-working space during the day, set to launch in September of this year. There are a lot of people in New York who work from home, and from very small apartments! A co-working space is a shared office space where people come together to work. At the co-working space, they find community, connection, and support for their developing work. We see the co-working space as an extension of what we do at Dinner Church: connecting people who might not otherwise be connected.
How much have you already raised and where did the money come from?
We’re raised $80,000!!! What!?! Crazy, I know. First off, we have an amazing donor who offered a challenge grant of $30,000 once we reached $50,000. So the congregation started us off by pledging $12,650. Then some really wonderful people contributed and brought us to the $50,000. At that point, our challenge grant kicked in and brought us to $80,000.
How much are you trying to raise?
The total amount we need for the project is $120,000, so we’re almost there! We hope to raise more than $30,000 through this campaign.
Where will my money go?
Your money will go to all the brick-and-mortar items needed for our to make the space our own. Flooring, electrical work, building out of counters and shelving, the purchase of a refrigerator, sink, stove, and microwave, plus tables, chairs, pots and pans and dishes! There’s also a few months of rent in there to get us up and running.
What do the plans for the space include?
We’ve thought about the plans for the space very carefully with our architect, Sheryl Jordan. We’re seeking to create a space that invites the congregation into shared work and participation, and feels sacred and holy. Three central tables will host Dinner Church participants, then split into components that transition into more private work space. A canopy at the entryway with a perforated surface will create a patterns of light on the floor, creating a threshold. A system of rods on the ceiling will allow us to hang oil lamps to be lit during worship, as well as cloth for different seasons of the year. We’ve worked to use space efficiently, with under-bench storage for bags and purses.
How long will you be in this space?
We have a five year lease, with a option to renew for another five years. In New York the cost of property means many small business owners and not-for-profits rent rather than buy.
Is this model financially sustainable?
All signs point to yes. We’ve developed a detailed business plan with projected income and expenditures over the next 10 years. Congregational giving, donor giving, and the income from our co-working space will mean a balanced budget, with no grant support from our denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, by 2017.
Are you affiliated with a denomination?
Yes. St. Lydia’s is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Is St. Lydia’s GLBTQ affirming?
Yes! We are. And we think it’s important to share this clearly and boldly.
What if I’d rather mail a check than give online?
Not a problem. We will gladly receive your check! Just mail it to:
540 President Street #2C
Brooklyn, NY 11215
What else can I do to help spread the word about this campaign?
Thanks for asking! Our campaign relies on your energy and enthusiasm to gain momentum. You can:
-E-mail folks you know who might like to give. A sample e-mail may be found here.
-Post about your giving on Facebook. Include the link to our campaign: igg.me/at/dinner-church
-Make the image at the top of this post your profile picture on Facebook, or the image below your cover photo